More than 600 young drivers fined for ignoring ‘refresher course’
On January 1st, 2019, Flemish authorities introduced a mandatory ‘return moment’ for all young candidate-drivers, six to nine months after their application for their final driver’s license. The reason for the measure was to reduce the high number of accidents – one in five – in which young drivers were involved.
Up to €4 000
“Last year, we expected 17 444 people, and 96% of them indeed showed up. More than 1 500 young drivers, however, took no notice of the invitation, and 619 of them even ignored the reminder,” says Nick Arys, spokesperson for the department of Mobility and Public Works. “Those who didn’t show up risk a fine of up to €4 000.”
The so-called ‘return moment’ is no exam; it is meant as a refresher course with some practical tests in which the young drivers can experience the dangers of driving while using their cell phone, feel the effect of alcohol or drugs, and check the braking distance when driving at 50 kph.
“Some youngsters tend to overestimate their driving skills and underestimate the dangers of traffic,” continues Arys. “That is why countries like Finland and Austria earlier introduced those ‘return moments’. The initiative clearly is a success.”